Year in Review: City of Blaine

Published on Wed, Jan 15, 2014 by Dave Wilbrecht, city manager

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2013 was a year of change for the city of Blaine. Gary Tomsic, the city manager for the past 13 years, retired on June 30. Gary left a legacy of accomplishments in the city, such as downtown beautification and enhancements; street and sidewalk improvements; the paved pedestrian trail along Peace Portal Drive; the relocation, construction and commissioning of the Lighthouse Point Water Reclamation Facility now providing millions of gallons of reclaimed water to the golf course; and the purchase, remodel and relocation of the city hall to the new building, to name a few. 

All of these accomplishments were with the support and cooperation of dedicated elected officials, volunteers and employees. I was fortunate to be appointed as city manager and began on July 1, 2013.

2013 was a year of good news. The most positive was the purchase and reopening of the Semiahmoo Resort and golf courses in August. As a result of the purchase, the facilities and grounds were cleaned up, many local citizens were rehired and the resort reopened for operations in the fall. The resort is both an important tourist and business resource and a place for locals to enjoy socializing and exercise. Plans in 2014 include major renovation projects in the lobby areas, restaurants, rooms and the spa that will provide jobs and opportunities for local business.

The city council took an affirmative step to develop the Gateway Parcel (old airport) by contracting with Hebert Research to determine the best and most productive uses of the site. The consultant identified businesses and industries that would benefit from Blaine’s physical beauty, exceptional school district, educated population, location between Vancouver and Seattle and the prior effort of adopting a general site plan and construction of infrastructure to prepare the property for development. One of the major initiatives in 2014 will be to continue to develop the site.

With Semiahmoo Resort reopening, the recession slowly ending and a slight uptick in sales tax, city council was able to retain the tourism coordinator position last fall and add back the school resource officer with the support of the Blaine school district. The council approved the 2014 budget and restored funds to support the Blaine Tourism Advisory Committee, a police officer, a cashier supported by the utility collections, a half-time court clerk and financial support to the Blaine Senior Center and the Blaine Boys & Girls Club. 

It is my goal and objective to continue to provide the highest levels of services possible to our citizens and businesses in Blaine and I look forward to meeting with residents in 2014.

On behalf of the city council and our employees, I want to thank all our citizens in the city of Blaine for their ongoing support and the opportunity to serve our community and wish everyone a prosperous and happy New Year.